Euro NCAP is to tighten its testing procedure for 2009. Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP, said of the new rating system: "It is imperative that Euro NCAP continue to set higher benchmarks for carmakers to aspire to. Our new rating system will do this. I have no doubt that manufacturers will step up to the challenge, just as they did when we first started."
While occupant protection results have improved greatly since the system was introduced in 1997, by late August this year no manufacturer had achieved a four-star result in pedestrian protection, and in tests last year 67% of models were awarded only a two-star rating despite the approach of legislation. So Euro NCAP plans to introduce a rating system that will reward the overall safety of a vehicle.
"The creation of new technologies means enhanced safety performance and a potential reduction of fatalities on our roads," van Ratingen said. "We intend to reward those manufacturers that make this their ultimate goal."
When Euro NCAP was established, it was thought that achieving five stars for adult protection might not be possible. But by 2007, of 34 car models tested and assessed by the Belgium-based organization, 97% achieved either five- or four-star ratings—but not for pedestrian safety.
It has been decided to continue the five-star rating assessment next year, but it will reflect the protection offered to adult and child occupants as well as pedestrians. Also, for the first time, it will consider the safety potential of advanced driver-assistance such as electronic stability control. The assessment of adult protection will be broadened to include whiplash testing; details of the parameters for this will be announced soon.